North Adams students working to help the homeless

Sixth grade students from North Adams Elementary traveled to the Adams County Shelter for the Homeless on Nov. 15 to make their delivery of over 1,200 pairs of socks they collected during their “Socktober” campaign. The students and their teacher, Mrs. Emily Young, are pictured here with Shelter Director Sharon Harris (center).

 

Socktober Drive collects over 1,000 pairs of socks – 

By Patricia Beech – 

North Adams elementary and high school students on Wednesday, Nov. 15 delivered nearly 1,200 pair of socks to the Adams County Shelter for the Homeless (ACSH) in West Union as part of their student-led “Socktober Drive.”
The sock-collecting campaign was spearheaded by North Adams Elementary’s sixth grade grade Kindness Club, a community service-oriented group under the leadership of Emily Young, sixth grade Social Studies teacher at NAES.
“I think any time you can give back to your community you’re not only representing your school well, but you’re also teaching the students to become good citizens who care for others,” said Young.
“Socktober” is a nationwide campaign established to collect new socks for homeless people during the month of October.
The premise behind the campaign is that people think about donating clothing, coats, hats, and food for the homeless, but socks are often forgotten.
“We’re providing people with essential items they need, especially in the winter months,” said NAES principal Deirdre Mills.
Every night in the United States an estimated 600,000 people sleep on the streets and need simple things, like socks, to help them survive harsh weather. With the coldest months just around the corner, socks are needed more than ever in the homeless community.
“It’s a blessing to have others come in and help fill the needs of those in the shelter,” said ACSH Director Sharon Harris. “It’s not only a great opportunity for us and the clients we serve here, but also for the children to learn what it’s like to be able to help others who have a need.”
Speaking with the students, Harris emphasized that no one wants to be in a homeless shelter.
“It’s a situation that can happen to anybody at any time for many reasons,” Harris told the students. “The loss of a job or a house fire – these are things that could happen to any of us.”
Students questioned Harris about the facility and the people who are sheltered there.
“What happens to the kids?”, sixth grader Marcia Kill wanted to know.
“Do they have to go to school?”, a second student asked.
“What happens to people who call when the rooms are all taken?”, another wondered.
“Do you have volunteers?”
“How can we help?”, asked Emma Baughey.
Harris, who was named the facility’s Director earlier this year, spent several minutes answering the students’ questions and explaining the shelter’s history and current needs.
Last year, thousands of schools, families, businesses, and churches across the U.S. rallied together to bring “Socktober” to life. To date, people from every state and continent have taken part in the Socktober Campaign.
“We had a lot of success with the program last year, so we asked Mrs. Young and the Kindness Club if they could do it again and organize it for the school,” said Principal Mills. “This year our entire student body, from pre-school through high school, helped with the drive.”